Stranger Things 2 takes everything about the first show and kind of amps it up to eleven (no pun intended). It's like the first show on steroids, in a good way. The performances are great, the story is better, and it was just a lot more satisfying for me than the first one. I liked the first one a lot, mainly for the atmosphere, but I didn't love it- but I can clearly say here that Stranger Things 2 is at times pretty awesome.
This post will be spoilery. So it's a year later, roughly, and Eleven is still missing (although Hopper's been hiding her), the Hawkins lab is still operating, and the kids are trying to come to terms with what happened the previous year. Mike of course was smitten with Eleven, so he's carrying a lot of sorrow for that as she is presumed lost after the battle with the Demogorgon. Will is messed up too from his encounter, so it's almost like the group has PTSD. Hopper of course made an arrangement with the lab to keep things quiet, as long as they agreed to keep bad things out of Hawkins. When it's clear that bad things are back, however, is when everything begins to unravel.
Some kind of shadow monster is bleeding through from the Upside Down, the other dimension where the Demogorgon was from, and Will starts having weird dreams or whatever that show a link. Between that and the ending of last season, we know there's something there, some connection. I thought everything was creepier and scarier this time around, more intense- they definitely ratcheted up the suspense. The characters were about the same for me- the kids were at times great and at times irritating, Hopper and his choices are problematic for me, Eleven is as enigmatic as ever . I felt like the story was advanced well and I liked some of the riskier things they did- for example the Kali storyline in which we meet another lost child and see how she is making her way after the lab. I was skeptical of that angle but that storyline kinda won me over.
I'm just going to list some things I liked and disliked for the rest of the review.
Mad Max was a great new addition, a breath of fresh air.
Paul Reiser as Dr. Owen. Finally, we have a villain who is nuanced, and not just one dimensional- although to be honest, he's not really a villain. He actually cares what happens to the people of Hawkins, and while he seems a bit sinister or smug initially, he's actually not a bad guy. So refreshing.
The atmosphere- as creepy as the first time around, maybe more so.
The music- great choices.
Winona Ryder as Joyce- I liked her a lot more this time.
Kali's crew- I groaned initially when I saw we were getting an entire epsode of them (can you say spin-off?) but I felt like that episode worked, and actually enjoyed it a lot. With a lot of runaway type shows happening lately (The Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, as well as other spinoffs of superhero franchises) it was interesting to see the Duffer Brothers' take on that angle.
"She's never wrong," Lucas's dad tells him when he asks how he keeps his mom happy. That was a fun exchange.
Eleven treated Mad Max like shit, which I know initially was a smidgen of jealousy, but I felt like that was douchey and she should have gotten over that. I'm not always a big fan of Eleven anyway, though.
The kids- yeah on the one hand I love 'em, they're fun, but they can be SO irritating too. Especially Dustin. He just does some of the dumbest things. Dart, anyone?
The Billy storyline. So annoying, and pointless. All of his scenes were a waste of time.
Hopper and Eleven. He keeps her in a cabin alone for a year?? And only realizes at the end that maybe that was, um, bad?
The whole Murray storyline. Murray was the slightly paranoid investigative journalist who pushed the conspiracy theories, and while he had a little good dialogue with Jonathan and Nancy, he felt mostly unneeded?
I should give ep 2 another go..s1 that is ,)ReplyDelete
Yeah, check it out! :)Delete
I liked this season too. I didn't love episode 7 though. I agree about the rest of your dislikes and likes though. Mad Max was great. I loved Joyce. I think Steve was better this season. Overall I was pleasantly surprised. I thin I was waiting for a fall off this season.ReplyDelete
I think I'm in the minority on episode 7!! Although I hated it at first too. I think it only grew on me because I saw Eleven growing, sorta. Mad Max WAS great, for sure. And Joyce yeah. :)Delete
I haven't quite finished the second season yet but I agree on some of the things you didn't like, I didn't get the point of some of it but who knows, maybe it will have a point later on. I really am loving this season though. I loved the first but this one is just as great.ReplyDelete
I think so too, I loved this one even more!Delete
I liked this season - it felt creepier, a bit scarier. I thought Billy was a waste, and I was a bit surprised at all the Dustin scenes, but the Dustin/Steve combo was genius. I liked that Steve was still around even after he and Nancy broke up. I didn't really care for the episode with Eleven and her "sister's" crew, it felt like filler for me.ReplyDelete
It definitely felt creepier t ome. Billy *ugh* I wonder if they're building him up for S3, because I did NOT see the point. Dustin and Steve were pretty good. :)Delete
It's tough to keep a series going, but like you, for the most part, the show still keeps my interest. Something about Winona Ryder has always fascinated me (maybe it's the stealing she used to do and overcome-lol), and Paul Reiser is a great actor. I've seen the kids so much on talk shows, that it almost seemed like I overdosed on them, so I totally get what you're saying. Tomorrow, I plan to catch up on Christmas movies that are piling up on the DVR and The Punisher on Netflix. Now, I just need to tape my laptop shut.(lol) Happy Wednesday! Hugs...ROReplyDelete
I haven't seen any of the promo stuff but I bet some of it is funny. It must be tough and interesting for kids that age to be thrust into the spotlight. And Christmas movies are the best!Delete
I really liked this season too. I didn’t get the whole Billy thing though. He was pointless and unnecessary. I don’t know what I think of that ending though. Maybe they need something new to fight?ReplyDelete
Yeah Billy. Next, lol. I think you may be right, the ending felt like the ending of S1 all over again- look, we won, yay, oh wait, there's the beastie again, is it going to come back? I hope they go somewhere new in S3.Delete
I've just started this, so looking forward to it. I did like the Mad Max addition, and have kind of skim read as I didn't want to spoil anything lol :)ReplyDelete
Ha ha I get it! Hope you enjoy. I wasn't sure about Max at first, but she won me over.Delete
Oh I totally forgot about Murray! It seemed like he was only there to make Jonathan and Nancy get it on lolReplyDelete
I'm ignoring that you're not a fan of Eleven lol I don't know why but I feel protective of her but I also feel like she's on her way to becoming a super villain. She's amazing and loyal when she's happy but when she's not...
I wasn't quite as big a fan of Max. I actually liked her a lot but I didn't think her or Billy served much of a purpose. I really hope that they develop them more next season.
I liked both seasons just as much but for different reasons. I liked this one because they really led you astray with red herrings and it's nice to be able to be surprised by a show that's essentially the same as S1. But S1 was unexpected and fun.
So many of the characters screwed up this season - especailly Dustin and Hopper. And while I was watching it I was yelling at the tv lol but I think it all furthered the characters and made sense for them.
Awesome recap! I/m finally watching what your watching and know what your talking about! Ha
For What It's Worth
Exactly, ha ha. Jonathan and Nancy both have potential, I think, but they were just kinda under- used this time. And ha ha I understand! I actually liked Eleven in the first one, and it's not that I don't like her, but I'd like her developed a bit more, and I didn't like how she treated Max. :)Delete
Speaking of Max, I liked her but admit she didn't add much? She needs to be developed more too, and I suppose that means more Billy *ugh* but I did think she was a good addition.
there were a lot of red herrings this time! And I liked that Paul Reiser's character started out seeming kinda sinister and turned out... okay?
Flawed characters= fun, I agree. Poor Dustin and Hopper. And yay, nice to be watching the same thing. :)
Great review! I LOVED Season 2!! I HATED Billy too! He was so gross! But, I didn't mind Eleven's attitude toward Max, only because the feeling was still so new to her. If she were a normal kid, used to lessons of right and wrong and situations like that, it would have been different.ReplyDelete
I did too. Billy *was* awful. And good point about Eleven- she's been SO sheltered. I suppose the two girl members of the team can't get along RIGHT away, right? Ha ha but they may make a tough team in the future. :)Delete
I didn't enjoy the episode with Kali's gang. I think there were probably less disruptive (to the overall flow of the story) ways to level up Eleven's powers.ReplyDelete
I adored Hopper this season - even more than S1 and in spite of the fact I was yelling at him along the way for his terrible decision making. He's just a beefy cinnamon roll of good intentions and poor execution, with a streak of stubborn that sometimes works out for him.
I also enjoyed Joyce and Steve far more this season; and like you, I don't get the addition of Billy. Sure, having a mundane menace has its place, but he really just irritated me when he wasn't creeping me out (that scene when he went to visit the Wheelers? Ugh!)
Murray was... well, just a plot device, right? Yeah, he left me cold too.
But overall I really enjoyed the season. It's such an addictive watch (but I actually really enjoyed the kids including Dustin. Their bad decisions are believable, and I don't mind gibbering away at them :) )
It seems like most people didn't. I started out not liking it and it grew on me, but after the episode before it I was like nooo, you're gonna make us wait to see what happens??Delete
"beefy cinnamon" roll lol that's awesome. :) Nuff said.
Joyce and steve- definitely. I thought Steve might be a standout. And Billy at the Wheelers- sorry, that was TOO much.
The kids are a lot of fun. :)
Hahah I agree with everything, though I felt like the episode with Kalli was a bit unneeded? But at least they made Eleven look "bitchin'" lol.ReplyDelete
My favorite part of the whole season is Babysitter Steve, hands down.
Right? "Bitchin" is a good word for it. :)Delete
Steve and Dustin=win. They had such awesome scenes...
The beginning of season 2 didn't grab me right away, but once it started getting crazy, I loved it. I'm not the biggest fan of Eleven either. Yeah, she was abused and isolated, but shouldn't that make her more emphatic, not less.ReplyDelete
Yeah Eleven is problematic for me, I feel sorry for her but... I don't know. She's a work in progress. :)Delete
I'm so behind, I'm only just now slowly making my way through season two. My husband and I just watched episode 3 tonight, so far I'm actually enjoying it more than the first season. Can't wait to finish it so I can come back here and read your full post (thanks for the spoiler warnings)!ReplyDelete
~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
I liked it more than the first season too. And thanks!!Delete
What about Bob? I loved his character but poor Bob. I was so excited to see Sean Astin and Winona Ryder act together on screen. I am such a child of the 80s that I felt like i was 14 again watching the show. I loved the Ghost Buster references. Again felt like I had traveled back in a time machine. I think my favorite part of this series is watching it with my 18 year old. When one of the character said " Your ass is grass" I about spit out my hot cocoa. My son loved that line and I totally remember people saying that 30 years ago! Here is a question for you that I havent' been able to ask anyone cause no one else I know likes Stranger Things. The ending shows the Demogorgan over the school. Obviously it means that it is still there but it can't get through right? It is stuck cause 11 closed the gap. How do you think it will get through next season? Will the series end with them actually killing the Demogorgan?ReplyDelete
Poor bob...I actually thought at first he might be a mole, meant to keep an eye on Joyce, but he was for real and deserved better. You knew SOMEONE was going to die, too bad it was him. And this is like an 80's bonanza, right??Delete
Cool that you're watching with your son, and I bet to this generation some of the references are so... out there??
Okay... my take is- I think the shadow monster this season is different from the Demogorgon of last season? Or do I have that wrong. And it kind of irked me actually that they showed the shadow monster over the school, because it seemed like the ending of S1, where the DG was defeated but then the yhinted that oh maybe it wasn't. I mean Eleven went through a LOT to close that portal, if it just comes back and starts seeping through again it seems like a waste? I say give them the victory, and have a different threat next time.
I still have to do my 30 free Netflix trial and watch these. I will stop by after I have watched. :)ReplyDelete
Man, almost all of them treated Mad Max like shit which bothered me to no end. She could only be "in" if she showed romantic interest? Piss off on that concept. Lol I binged when it came out. I don't watch much television but that show is awesome and, well - it's my generation. It's like watching my own childhood aside from the upsidedown monsters.ReplyDelete
Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
Season two was so great! I've actually just my dad to start season one - he is now hooked!ReplyDelete
Sounds like Season 2 was a step-up from Season 1 which is great because, like you, I didn't love the first season!ReplyDelete